There are a lot of frightening things that happen in our nation's schools, but three fifth graders plotting to off their teacher and put rat poison in her coffee cup is one of the most outrageous things I've heard in a long time. The way the school has handled the incident is even more unsettling.
According to KMPH, the teacher wasn't hurt, as one of the students fortunately had a change of heart and knocked the cup out of the teacher's hand at the last minute. Still, the cold and calculating actions of these students are mind-numbing as is their punishment to date.
They were simply expelled ... and transferred to another school. A criminal investigation is currently ongoing, and charges could be filed, but there is little evidence remaining since the incident happened back in December (more on that in a minute). Fresno Teachers Association President Greg Gadams strongly believes they should be held accountable under the law and told the station, "There should be some kind of legal charges filed against them, because if there is not, as they move up in the school system there will really be no record of anything that happened."
I agree that just moving them doesn't address the problem, nor does it send a clear message to students about the severity of their actions. As David Cross, a teacher at Phoenix Academy, where the students were transferred, told KFSN: "They should not be placed at another campus where now other staff and other students have to worry about. Certainly like a campus like ours where these kids are going to be elevated to gods to many of our kids, they're going to say this is great, maybe I can do something similar to a teacher or an adult."
Making the situation worse is the fact that the school didn't inform parents what happened until now. The incident actually took place back in December, but it wasn't made public until last week when one of the offending children's parents reportedly asked that the principal give their child some credit for saving the teacher's life ... uh yeah, after plotting to take it? And you wonder how these children could be so twisted with parents who think like that.
So how should these children be reprimanded? I'm not sure. I don't think they need to be written off forever nor denied an education because that would likely just lead to greater problems. Still there's got to be some more serious consequences than just a new school when it comes to something this serious.
How do you think the school district should handle students who commit such serious infractions?
Image via anthony_p_c/Flickr